"People crave something real, a physical object that is unique and that you can hold in your hand," said Masato Yamamoto, general manager of Fujifilm’s photo imaging products division, on the sidelines of the [new Instax Mini-90 Neo Classic] camera launch.
"Film yields an authenticity that is often missing in a digital world."
Fortunately, there are some people who really do get it...
It's not that prints from digital files aren't authentic, it's just that the majority of people have the same mentality that we often ballyhoo on here of "I can press print and get 50 copies!".
A) Anyone that editions their work at 50 is a dumbass.
B) printing with inkjet is as difficult as printing in the darkroom...color inconsistencies, profiling, batch to batch paper variation that is generally more pronounced than we experience in the darkroom world...the only thing is that since more people have inkjet printers than darkrooms, we see (drastically) more people who don't really care about the true quality of the finished product. Don't you think we are a little biased here? We have all chosen to be members of what is billed as an "exclusively analog" photographic community of printers and photographers, for better or worse. By that very fact alone, we all care 100% more about our finished product than 98% of the photographic community. My father exclusively prints via inkjet now...but to make a single print that he is willing to put his signature on is an hours long ordeal, requiring extensive collaboration with his printer (whom, I might add, is descended from a 3 generations long family of printers, both lithography and silver based). He will make a visit to her lab all day and come home with two or three prints...no different than any discerning professional darkroom worker.
C) I'm really sick of people disrespecting digital photography as a medium because of its intrinsic lack of a concrete original between shutter-press and print (Polaroid, eat your heart out). Digital cameras didn't hurt standards of quality in photography, and there aren't any more bad photographers than there were in the past, it's just that the needle is no longer hidden in a haystack, it's submerged in a pool of shit the size of the Pacific Ocean. Archival pigment prints have projected lives beyond that of both Ciba and RA-4 (even CA-II). Also...we can whine but when was the last time you were able to get a color print done on 310gsm fiber-based paper without using color-carbro-Ilfo-BBQ-EDTA-Fresson-Transfer-Chromeoil?
D) I don't know about y'all but I hate touching my negatives...
E) I think people would use film more if they saw more work that they enjoyed which was made on film. Some annoying rich guy yelling about nonsense isn't going to have much actual effect on anything.
I actually find instant film to be a lot like digital, in that the process is sort of a magical black box, and I think it's cool in its own way but doesn't have much in common with darkroom work. I'd actually say in some ways it's more "detached" or "alienated" from the photographer than digital, precisely because it *is* so much of a black box---apart from Polaroid backs on system or LF cameras, the actual controls applicable to the process are almost always very limited, and the controls you can apply after exposure are basically nil.
To me, that stuff only gets really interesting when you start to look at things like emulsion transfers and experimenting with the "goop" side of peel-aparts. Your mileage may, obviously, vary.
(The Platonic original of a photograph)
That is, you're talking about the "truth" of photography in terms of a kind of optical magic, in which the information in a bunch of loose photons is captured wholesale as a physical, concrete image. We all know that doesn't happen---the photo loses polarization, timing information, and the wave properties of light, for a start, and that's without considering optical imperfections of the lens or spectral and sensitivity limitations of the capture medium---but you write as if it's very viscerally clear to you that *those* departures from perfect accuracy are not important, while *other* departures are enormously important.
Which, y'know, take your gut feeling and run with it! I'm not going to argue that you shouldn't have that attitude to the medium. But I don't see that it has any special claim to being The Way Photography Really Is, or that any particular choice of the cutoff point between "not important" and "enormously important" is intrinsically more right than any other.
Agreed, absolutely. I kind of think that these different interpretations are all we've got, though, unless you abstract your concept of "the medium" away from photography and into general visual art. While we can try to understand one another's interpretations and get out of our own confined assumptions, I think the idea of a transcendent Grand Unified Theory of Photography is a fiction, and epistemological arguments about it are founded on sand.Quote:
It seems to me that most of the contributors here want to define it simply by how they use it. That, I think, is why there are so many different definitions, and angst over a sense that no one else understands what it really is except for "me". When one constructs a definition solely around one's own unique interaction with the medium it's not surprising that one ends up with an almost infinite number of interpretations.
 What distinguishes photography from painting, I submit, is *solely* the process; it's possible for a technically skilled painter to make a viewer say "wait, is that a photo?", or an inventive photo printer to make a viewer say "wait, is that a painting?", which by itself almost proves that you can't really distinguish the two media purely on viewable characteristics of the image. The two certainly speak the same language between the creator and the viewer, and what can be said about one in terms of image and communication can be equally said about the other. Discuss?
When digital photography appeared I had no problem with it and found it a great addition to analogue to further the boundaries of what could be achieved. The problem I had was when it was hijacked by marketing men to make money and put digital as a technological replacement over film.